I am a reassurance seeker. Reassurance is my drug. I crave it all the time, for everything. Most people, I don't think, would see reassurance as all that terrible of an addiction. Sometimes it's fine to ask for reassurance. Sometimes it even makes sense. But I know that my reassurance seeking veers into nutty territory. Andat a certain point, I realized I was driving my husband crazy with my addiction to it.

We've only been married about a year and a half, but we've been together for nearly 8. I feel like my OCD has gotten more intense, in some ways, since we got married because now I have more to lose. Now the stakes feel higher, and so, OCD can't keep its grubby little hands off my relationship.

OCD keeps asking me to feed it with reassurance, but I haven't been. I've been resisting reassurance with all my strength. I've been resisting asking for it, and I've been resisting giving it to myself. Furthermore, I've been doing daily exposures using recorded scripts. There have been some weeks since I've started when I've really felt pretty free. Like OCD is so overwhelmed with how hard I'm working that it doesn't quite know what to do, and gives up. But then, there have been other times, like right now, when I feel so tired and the hampster wheel keeps spinning and spinning. Times when I feel hopeless. Times when I feel like I'm going to give in. But I don't. This really pisses OCD off, and it keeps launching new offensives, trying to get me to cave.

In previous posts, I talked about the fact that it took me (or my therapists…) a long time to figure out I had OCD. Perhaps that's because my reassurance seeking was just seen as insecurity, not as an indication of a larger, more insidious problem. And for so long, I would confess my fears to my therapists and get the required reassurance only to start the cycle over and over and over again.

I am trying to find a new way – through my exposures and through my therapy – to deal with my anxiety. A new way, that isn't reassurance seeking.

And it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

The worst thing, is that OCD tells you that if you just do your compulsion one more time, everything will be okay.

I've been thinking about this in comparison to washers. Washers wash over and over because they aren't certain that they're clean and they get momentary relief from scrubbing their hands justone more time.The awful part of this, of course, is that you're not okay. You'll have the urge to wash again. And again. And again, until your skin is chapped and raw.

I ask for reassurance again. And again. Until I feel chapped and raw inside and my realtionships feel chapped and raw. That's the thing – this reassurance seeking doesn't just affect me, it affects everyone around me. It affects my husband the most.

I know I can't ask you to tell me everything will be all right. I know that's not the way through this. But I could use some encouragement. I could use some empathy. If you're a reassurance seeker, I'd love to hear from you because as we all know, it can be so lonely. I need to be told to keep going with this. To keep resisting the compulsions, even though it can be absolute hell. I need to remember that I am stronger than my thoughts.

  1. buffster 7 years ago

    Uncertainty is the hallmark of our condition..without it? the obsessions fade & wither like a cancer without oxygen & nutrition..I feel what you're doing now to resist is a good first step in conquering the beast..charge onward & upward..

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  2. TeawithMara 7 years ago

    Thank you all for your support. I can't tell you how much it means! 🙂

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